Appel à contribution : « Printing surfaces / Surfaces d’impression », Lyon, CIHA, 23-28 juin 2024, date limite le 15 septembre 2023

In all art history fields based on printed material, research conventionally focuses on the images, and other information that was printed. The objects used to produce that information (including cut woodblocks, engraved metal plates, and lithographic stones) have been neglected. Many hundreds of thousands of these historical printing surfaces survive today in the East as in the West.

As relics of historical crafts and industry, they fall outside the modern disciplines, and the vast majority are even inaccessible to researchers because they are uncatalogued and often considered ‘uncatalogue-able’. However, as individual objects and as an untapped category of cultural heritage, these artefacts of printing offer a great deal of information that the finished prints, books, fabrics, and other printed materials do not.

The proposed panel will respond to the need for a multidisciplinary introduction to what in image-based fields are called ‘print matrices’ – ‘printing surfaces’ in text-based fields. Following from the conference Blocks Plates Stones (London, 2017) the monographic issue of  Memofonte journal (2017) and the volume Printing things (2023), the first facilitated discussion of the use of such objects in research, this panel will represent the state of research in this new and developing field. It will bring together object-based research, collection-level surveys, historical printing practices, ethical considerations of their storage and use (or nonuse) today, methods for multiplying the originals (eg dabs, stereos, electros), and methodological studies. By doing so, it will facilitate their introduction into historical research across the disciplines.

Contributions are sought from art historians and researchers in other fields based on historical printed material; curators, cataloguers, and printing museum managers who care for these objects; and digital humanities specialists who are creating a new generation of tools for culling information from these objects. The panel will focus on hand-press work the world over. In addition to object- and collection-based case studies, theoretical perspectives might include:

  • What can print matrices/printing surfaces teach us that printed materials cannot, and viceversa?
  • How should they be regarded: as artists’ tools; intermediary states of works of art; or works of art in themselves? What does not appear in the work: organization of the workshop, collaborations, specializations, delegation of the manufacture, logistics
  • Organization of the production and market materials
  • What lies behind the sudden and recent increase in interest in these objects, and how can these objects inform those emerging research trends?
  • Does the recent turn to object-centered cultural criticism (‘thing theory’) provide useful paradigms for their study?
  • What are the ethical and critical issues around bringing them back into use as printing surfaces?
  • What is their place within the systems of digital remediation and knowledge within which art and book history is increasingly practiced?

We welcome proposals (350-500 words) from professionals, independent researchers, doctoral students, junior researchers, senior researchers in art history or related disciplines, from all over the world.

Candidates should send the following information:

  • Title of the paper
  • Paper proposal: an abstract of 350 to 500 words, in English or French, including 4 to 6 key words and a possible bibliography.
  • CV of 500 characters: First name, last name, title, position, institution, with a link to the personal or professional page if applicable.

Submissions should be made through the conference website: If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the session organizers:
Ilaria Andreoli, INHA, Paris –
Elizabeth Savage, University of London –
Femke Speelberg, Metropolitan Museum, New York –


Citer ce billet
Florence Larcher (2023, 28 août). Appel à contribution : « Printing surfaces / Surfaces d’impression », Lyon, CIHA, 23-28 juin 2024, date limite le 15 septembre 2023. Centre d'Histoire de l'Art de la Renaissance. Consulté le 18 avril 2024, à l’adresse

Florence Larcher

Florence Larcher est doctorante à l'Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Ses recherches sur les images de saint Roch en Italie de 1350 à 1680 l'amènent à étudier la peinture murale, la sérialité et l'itinérance des peintres.

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